Speak Up!

You may have noticed – posted somewhere in your doctor’s office or in the hallway at your local hospital or clinic – a poster about being your own health advocate.  Speak Up™ is part of an initiative from The Joint Commission to “urge patients to take a role in preventing health care errors by becoming active, involved and informed participants on the health care team.” Help prevent errors by being aware and active in your health care!

  • Speak up! – Take a notebook with you to your appointments. Write down questions and concerns and ask them while you’re there. Ask about all directions and how medications should affect your body.
  • Pay attention! – Question the treatments and procedures you are getting. Never assume that doctors are always right. Doctors are human, and humans make errors. If your health care providers don’t double-check, make sure you insist they do!
  • Educate, EDUCATE, EDUCATE! – Learn all you can about your illness. Learn about the treatment and medical tests you can expect, and about the worst and best outcomes. Be informed!
  • Ask for an advocate – Find someone you can trust and put it in writing. Make it legal.
  • Know your medicines – Medication errors are too common. Know the ones you take and your doses. Have it written down and keep a list on you for when there’s emergencies.
  • Use a quality health care facility  – Know the care that you are receiving is coming from a top-notch facility. After all, you wouldn’t take your car to the kid down the road who got an A in shop, so why would you go to a below par medical facility?
  • Participate – Your health care should center around you, so be an active participant.

12 responses to “Speak Up!

  1. I haven’t seen these, but, I hope they get them in our clinics soon! 🙂 LOVE IT! DO IT!

    • Allison,

      Next time your at your local clinic, head into the main office of operations and ask for the person in charge of their patient safety and ask that they display the Speak Up Progam Initiatives. It will help many patients.

      Take care!

  2. Endochick,

    This post has important information regarding patient safety and info for patients learning how they can advocate for themselves. I have not yet seen any of their posters in my healthcare facilities.

    I have been taking notebooks to my medical appointments for years. I have also been known to bring a loved one along when feasible/necessary.

    Asking questions is so important. Many patients will hesitate to speak up when they are confused by medical terminology. Letting doctors ‘zoom on by’ using words that aren’t understood by the patient is a recipe for trouble. It’s hard to follow a treatment plan if you don’t understand it!

    Yes, doctors (like all humans) make errors. It is important to question anything that doesn’t sound right or is not clearly understood.

    Becoming educated about one’s own illness(es) is vital. I think the “ask for an advocate category” is an important one but also a complicated one in the aspect that how to go about obtaining an advocate (i.e. meaning a patient advocate who works for pay) probably varies widely from state to state. I realize some hospitals may have someone on staff for this. I wonder how easy or how difficult it is to obtain such an advocate. It is certainly a wonderful idea if one is available/affordable/obtainable.

    My husband is my health care proxy and he could totally step in for me if I’m incapacitated due to anesthesia or some other unconsciousness… where I couldn’t speak for myself. I have drilled him on my wishes. It’s all in writing and official.

    Yes, keeping an up-to-date list of meds is important… including strengths, dosages, etc. I include all of my allergies and sensitivities on my list too.

    Yes, being an active participant is crucial. Being a passive patient can be downright dangerous. Being assertive, questioning things that don’t seem right (or are clearly wrong), and standing up for oneself are all so important!

    What a great post!!!


    • Jeanne,

      Some hospital have volunteer or staffed patient advocates. Or, you can assign a family member or trusted friend to be your advocate. It’s easier if your wishes are legally documented, that way your advocate can do their job without family members usurping them. Not everyone is as brazen as we are and they need someone with a stronger personality to speak up for them in the sticky situations. Thanks for your comment. And next time your in your local clinic or hospital, demand they put this list up!

  3. Thanks so much for taking the time to post this. It is extremely important that all of us act as our own advocate for the most appropriate and effective treatment. I can say that the majority of positive changes that have occurred with my chronic health condition were all initiated by me based upon my own research.

    Thanks again and take care!

  4. Endochick,

    Hmm. When you said “we” regarding the word brazen, were you including me in that? My dictionary says this…

    >> Brazen: rudely bold

    Oh no! Do you think I am “RUDELY bold”? 😉

    I prefer the term “assertive”… Haha. Yeah, that’s it.

    We are ASSERTIVE!


    • Oh, Jeanne – I knew you’d dictionary that one at me. LOL. When I think of ‘brazen’ I think of these two elderly ladies I grew up with who spoke their minds and didn’t care who was against them because they knew they were right. They said they had brazen blood running through their veins. I always liked that… But yes, we are assertive 🙂

  5. Endochick,

    Aha… I see on the brazen factor. OK. Under that definition, we clearly have brazen blood. Now, since when is dictionary a verb? You continue to enlighten me. When can we meet in person? I’d like to play Scrabble with you. 😉


  6. Endochick,

    I agree! 😉


  7. This is excellent. I am exhausted from constantly repeating the ins and outs of endo to doctors. Adhesions? Forget it. Clueless. Thank you for your commitment.

  8. I really believe this specific blog , “Speak Up!
    | Endometriosis: the silent life sentence”, truly pleasurable and also it was indeed a superb read.
    Thank you,Sofia

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